Icy road conditions cause vehicle slides

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Road conditions were nothing short of "awful" Tuesday, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brett Hilling.

Icy, wet and snowy conditions on the roads, as well as periodic whiteouts, contributed to vehicles sliding off roads across the county throughout the day.

"The problem was that the roads were very icy, and people were driving much too fast," Colorado State Patrol Trooper Melissa Remner said. "They thought that the roads were dry or just wet and really were not taking the appropriate precautions."

There were at least three weather-related incidents early on Tuesday, Remner said.

At about 5 a.m., a single vehicle rollover was reported at mile marker 20 of Routt County Road 27. At 8 a.m., a vehicle slid off Colorado Highway 131 at about mile marker 63 and struck a post with reflectors, Remner said.

And at 2:45 p.m., a vehicle slid off U.S. Highway 40 at mile marker 98 into an embankment.

There were no reported injuries, but all three drivers were cited for improper mountain driving, Remner said. That charge carries a $40 fine and three points against a driver's license, which are reduced to 1 point if the fine is paid on time.

Most people were not driving over the speed limit but were going too fast for the conditions, Remner said. "The speed limit is an absolute, and that's for perfect driving conditions," she said. "On road conditions like (Tuesday's), at no time should you be going the speed limit."

Several other vehicles reportedly went off the road but were gone by the time troopers arrived, she said.

Later Tuesday night and into the early morning, about a half-dozen vehicles reportedly slid off roads across the county, Hilling said. Most accidents were minor.

A hit-and-run accident occurred at about 6 p.m. on U.S. 40, when a commercial vehicle side-swiped a minivan while passing, Hilling said. The case is being investigated, and there were no injuries or damages.

Also, the back of a tractor-trailer slid off C.R. 33, which slightly damaged the underbelly of the trailer but did not result in injuries.

Hilling said that roads often can end up covered with black ice as snow melts off, which can be dangerous.

The best advice in snowy, icy conditions, Hilling said, is simply to slow down.

Steamboat Springs police Cpt. Joel Rae said that conditions were mostly wet within the city Tuesday.

Three weather-related accidents were reported in the morning, all involving vehicles that slid off the road because of icy conditions. No injuries were reported.

Also, at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, a Steamboat Springs Transit bus reportedly slid off the top of Walton Creek Road into a ditch because of slick road conditions. No injuries were reported.

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